Sometimes, when I am down in the dumps about the state of the world, reading news about the war in Ukraine can cheer me up.
And no, that’s not some sort of twisted mind taking pleasure in someone else’s pain. It’s the stories of triumph over adversity, the kindness of strangers and help coming from the unlikeliest of places.
Like the NATO-era field hospital found packed away in a shed belonging to the North Vancouver Fire Department. Found by a firefighter looking for a part for a truck, the 200 beds, 200 field stretchers and other equipment were out of date. But the firefighter thought more could be done with it.
Arrangements were made to ship it, via Montreal and Germany, to Ukraine, where it is hopefully making life easier for their beleaguered health system.
It also makes me feel good hearing about the Okanagan group that raised enough cash to purchase a fully-equipped ambulance to ship to Ukraine, loaded with supplies.
And early in this war, a video went viral of a young girl, Amelia, beautifully singing the theme song from Frozen to a captive audience inside a Kyiv bomb shelter.
Or the little 11-year-old boy who made it to Slovakia by himself, with a plastic bag, a passport and a phone number written on his hand, to meet with family members there.
These kinds of heroes aren’t only found on the front lines. Like the ambulance fundraisers, they’re found right in our own neighbourhoods.
These are the people that, taken together, can transform a crisis by acting decisively and setting a standard for others to follow when others are unable to act for whatever reason.
These are stories that have come out of possibly every conflict or disaster ever. But they’re the reason I continue to have hope for the human race. If people can bear up under these sorts of privations and horrors, there is hope for us all.
So let’s salute the heroes. Yes, they’re on the frontline. But they’re also in their living rooms in gym gear or posting encouraging messages that are keeping us going.
Yes, there are lots of things you can do to help. My mom, at 70 years old, was moved watching a local multi-day protest on TV. Now, at that age, there wasn’t much she could do, but seeing a shot of their open-air kitchen, she wanted to head to Vancouver to cook for them.
We all have it inside ourselves to do something brave or bold, even in a small way.